I am not...

Years ago, shortly after becoming a Christian, I came across a book by Louie Giglio called, I am not but I know I AM. Like most books I probably read about half of it and then jumped to something else. But I do remember how the message of that book resonated with my own soul and still does to this day. Within the first few pages of that book, he said that when a baby is born the first thing they should hear from your mouth - in Louie fashion - is, “Welcome! We have been waiting for you and guess what, life is not about you!” As weird as that sounded initially, it impacted me deeply. In fact, I told my son that very thing the first time I held him. The first thing I wanted him to hear when he came into this world was that life wasn’t about him. It was and is about something much greater or maybe a better way of saying it is - life is about someone much greater.

I think that part of the reason that book impacted me so deeply is that I, like all of us, am so prone to make life all about me. I am so tempted to make the title of my own life story, I know I am not, but I think I am. Everyday, every morning I fight the daily battle of forgetting that life and ministry is not about me. It is not about my successes or failures. It is not about my achievements, what I build, or how many laborers I reproduce. Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing my faith and talking to people about Jesus. I love being apart of seeing people come to Christ and grow in Christ. I love seeing a small ministry in a fraternity, dorm or athletic team turn into a multiplying movement. At the same time it is not long into that process that I need a reality check and a reminder from the King that “His Glory He will give to no other” (Isaiah 42:8). Daily I have to remind myself that, “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30). For me, most of the time, my successes in ministry and my set backs have to be met with personal repentance for making too big a deal of myself and not a big enough deal of Christ and His Kingdom.

This great enterprise (the Great Commission) that we as believers have been invited to participate in really is all about the King. The other night I was sitting around the fire in my backyard with my wife. We were talking about giving our lives away and making disciples. I can’t remember exactly what I said but I just confessed that I don’t want to forget that the first and greatest thing I need to give my life to is knowing God. He comes first, His mission comes second. In the day in and out of ministry, how easy it is to forget this truth; and I believe a large part of that for me personally is that I so easily forget that I am not. I am not God. If you’re reading this, just pause for a moment and say that to yourself. Let it sink in. Feel the weight of freedom that comes with that simple reminder. We are not, but He is.

Psalm 29:10-11 says, “The Lord sat enthroned at the flood, the Lord sits enthroned, King forever. The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” What was Jesus doing when the earth was consumed with a flood and all but a few people and animals were wiped out? He was sitting on His throne. He was not stressing. He was not anxious. He was not asking Noah for help. He was not wondering how everything was going to flesh out. He was sitting down, unshaken and totally in control. And where is He today? He is sitting on His throne unshaken and totally in control.

Perhaps, like me, you know that to be true theologically and doctrinally, but you need to know that to be true experientially and practically. This passage informs us that this simple but life changing truth is meant to do two things. It is meant to strengthen us, and it is meant to serenade us. Why can we take risks in evangelism and reaching the lost? Why can we attempt things too big for us to control or handle? Why can we pray big things and appropriate faith in our personal lives and with those we minister to? Because our God is enthroned as King Forever. He is building His Kingdom. He is keeping us for the day of Christ’s return. He is completing the good work He began in us. Why can we rest, take days off,  and go to sleep when our work is incomplete? Why can we be at peace when there are so many undone things to do and so many unreached people to get to? Why can we spend more time in prayer and God’s Word? Why can we relax, exercise, spend time with our families and go on vacation? Because our King is enthroned in the Heavens, and He is doing all that He pleases. His rule both strengthens the heart and soothes the soul. It lifts us up to labor with boldness and lays us down to sleep with confidence. So as we pursue the mission that God has entrusted to us, let us remember that we are not but that we know I AM.

No Comments